City Planning, Reviews and Transparency

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know what goes on in the cities planning department.  But that right there is part of the problem.  Some of this info should be known, reviewed, and available easily to see. And perhaps it is, but the HRM website is not exactly user friendly in my opinion.  Yes its hard with so many departments, and I don’t have better options.

The snow issues of last winter are still fresh in our minds, and we still see foibles and inconsistencies, at least from my and I’m sure the public’s perspective.

I’m not on council, nor am I running, but if I were, here are things I would like answers to, and I think we should have them publicly available no matter what. Some relate to each other, some don’t. And in no particular order….

  1. When do we start regular maintenance for different things? ie: road repainting, patching, parks and rec?
  2. Who, how often, and when are plans for regular maintenance reviewed.
  3. How are priorities set? Is downtown residential patching more important than heavy shopping areas like Bayer’s Lake? Same with line painting.
  4. What data is used to determine this.  historical? how often is it collected, updated?
  5. What is the infrastructure plan? Do we have multi-year plans? if so why, a few years ago, was beford hiway near old ultramar paved, then torn up for water, then torn up for gas, rather than doing the latter two first?
  6. Do we have an infrastructure bank? Do developers contribute? Should we allow developers to build developments for profit that add to our infrastructure woes without contributing to a pool to improve it?
  7. Should we allow development at all in some areas till we can make it sustainable infrastructure wise?
  8. Do we have a growth plan?
  9. Why do we interrupt daily traffic in non-residential areas when we could do work in off-peak hours.  If contracted, why, who reviews.  Are the cost savings worth the downsides?
  10. Why, oh why, do we allow paving and patching in cold weather? I would need to see empirical proof that this is a valid plan, as having seen it first hand, asphalt sticks to tar better when both surfaces are hot. Cold ground will also expand, and heave destroying work done during cold weather faster than if in summer.
  11. This is an over generalization, but it is a common perception in the HRM public….Why is it so hard to actually make a decision? Are people afraid? Lets stop referring to committees over and over, and do things.

I’m not looking for personal response here, I just think that council should be aware that these criticisms are out there (not necessarily of council either, but of the whole shebang).  Lets get together and make this city truly work rather than continue to feel like were bogged down in bureaucracy and “heritage”.

An Open Letter to Halifax

I can’t help but notice that the level of hubris, disdain and general apathy in this city seems to grow on a daily basis.  Don’t we all wan’t a better, safer, politer city? Its time we all took action.  it doesn’t have to be hard.  Try to do something easy today, and every day, and think of others first.

Some examples:

  • Return your shopping cart to the corral. And actually stack them.
  • Use the garbage can.
  • If you make a mistake in traffic, go with it, and turn around, don’t endanger others and yourself to cut across the lane. You won’t lose more than a couple minutes, of which you’d be at a light anyway.
  • Save handicapped spaces for those that really need them.
  • If a cashier opens, let the person who waited longest go there, don’t take off from the end of the line.  They waited longer than you.
  • When you are leave a building, move aside from the doorway that others have to use.

Its really simple folks, lets start acting like we want to be treated, and stop acting as if the world is ours alone.

Feels like an episode for Seinfeld…

I have many pet peeves I guess, or maybe I just get peeved easily, but one I’ve ranted about for ages, and finally wanted to put down on paper… wait, this isn’t paper, oh well close enough, is the price and illogic of groceries.  Specifically chicken.  Locally we have two main grocery stores, Sobeys and Atlantic Superstore.  I don’t pay much attention to prices per pound of kg of item, i’m more interested in the net price per item.

Where then, is the logic in a raw, whole chicken costing aprroximately 14.00, while one cooked at the store, adding preparation and staff involvement is 9.00?  I’m sure they aren’t losing money on the 9 dollar chicken, how much markup in the name of all that is nameable is on the 14 dollar one then?

Price gouging at its finest in my opinion.  Perhaps the cell and cable companies are losing their touch and the grocery stores are catching up.  With Target coming, and Walmart soon to start selling groceries, I hope it has a positive affect.